I’ve been wanting to say something about the shooting in Arizona, but what do you say about a senseless act? That it was senseless? Horrific? Insane? That I’m sorry and dispirited and sad? It is. I am.
I could talk about gun control, I guess. I have strong feelings about it, but that’s not the part that’s been eating at me, and it’s a little like talking about abortion or the death penalty. There is nothing I can say on this blog that will change the minds of people who disagree with me. I could talk about the need for more/better/affordable/accessible mental heath services, or the vitriol of our political discourse (which I truly believe fosters a climate in which extremism becomes the norm, and crazy becomes less identifiable). I could tell you how I’ve started turning off NPR because I can’t stand to listen to the pundits, celebrities and politicians busily assigning and deflecting blame.
All of those are worthy topics for discussion, and those discussions are happening everywhere – on news sites, on blogs, on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve been having them myself with friends and family and a few people who don’t fall into either of those categories. But they are not what’s bothering me here, on Zebra Sounds.
What’s bothering me here is more personal. It’s a feeling of futility. A creeping discomfort that I’m being silly, that my great, big fat fun, awesome Love Project is frivolous and goofy, that one person can’t make a difference in a world where we find our identity, and even a sense of comfort and reassurance, in the things that divide us.
When I conceived of The Love Project at the end of last year, I was so excited. I imagined it gaining momentum one spontaneous connection at a time, people pausing to listen to others who feel alive with being heard; people reaching out to others who are daring to stand still and be touched. I wrote down all the ways I could think of to spread love, from the tiniest of gestures to the grandest, from a kiss, a hug, a smile, to love letters written in the sky.
It was fun to make the list, it made me hopeful, irrationally happy. Love’s awesome that way, dazzling in its ability to inspire and transform, but over the weekend and again today, I felt my smallness. My silliness. The quiet of my one tiny voice in the big crazy din.
And then it hit me. In this world that makes me sad every day, surrounded by people I don’t understand and who most certainly do not understand me, in these times of uncertainty and carelessness and brutality and intolerance, what we need is love. Maybe it’s not all we need – some serious economic recovery and a little more sanity in the public discourse would be great – but love is the thing we can do.Today. Now.
At least I think so. What do you think?